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Role of the mentor

We can learn in a variety of different ways including by experience, reflection or modelling. However, when we follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before us we can progress rapidly towards our goals. Mentoring can be extremely rewarding for both mentees and mentors. It provides mentors with the opportunity to impart their knowledge and experience and reflect on their own journey.

Experienced industry professionals provide the expertise and practical experience which form the backbone of the USQ Career Mentoring Program. The key objective of the program is to provide opportunities to mentees to assist in their transition from university to employment. The mentor's role is to assist this transition by imparting expertise and practical experience to the mentee. Mentors can provide industry knowledge, an in-depth understanding of organisational culture, politics, networking and protocol.

Mentors require:

  • the ability to listen
  • questioning skills
  • a passion for their work and industry
  • the ability to provide constructive and positive feedback
  • planning and decision making skills
  • the ability to encourage the mentee to set clear goals.

Mentors are not required to provide all the answers; instead the mentor encourages the mentee to use their available resources to identify solutions. It is therefore a partnership, whereby the mentor and mentee work in a collaborative manner. A previous mentor summed it up when he described his mentoring relationship as "a building of ideas and not just me giving him my ideas".

The mentor can contribute to the development of the mentee in the following ways:

  • interpersonal communications
  • self-confidence
  • negotiation skills
  • problem solving
  • accessing resources
  • networking
  • realisation of personal goals.

Mentees may be apprehensive about contacting their mentor through concerns about intruding on the mentor's time or resources. Mentors can help alleviate this concern by periodically forwarding encouraging emails to give the mentee confidence to maintain contact. The Career Mentoring Program respects the sacrifice of time and effort of the mentor in order for this program to succeed. To this end, the coordinator of the Career Mentoring Program will endeavour to support and assist the mentor to ensure that the mentoring process is efficient, seamless and beneficial to both parties.